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Home > Illicit drug and alochol use during pregnancy as a child protection issue: multi-disciplinary views.

Curran, Liam (2007) Illicit drug and alochol use during pregnancy as a child protection issue: multi-disciplinary views. MSc thesis, Trinity College Dublin.

External website: http://www.lenus.ie/hse/handle/10147/45831

This thesis examines the views and explores the experiences of fourteen professionals who deliver services to pregnant women, some of whom use alcohol and illicit drugs during pregnancy. This is an area that appears to receive little attention within child welfare and protection policy, and remains somewhat of a contested area of practice.

Ireland is unique within international jurisdictions due to the Constitutional protection it affords the unborn under Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann 1937). However, the foetus may suffer harm as a result of drug and alcohol habits during pregnancy.

The study sought professional views from three key areas of service delivery to these women, and posed the question; “Is parental consumption of drugs and alcohol in pregnancy a child protection concern for them as professionals?”

The study reviews the relevant literature, looking at international developments in the in the field of drug and alcohol use/misuse during pregnancy. The study examines the issues of illicit drugs, seeking to demonstrate recent developments, as it concentrates on the issues of alcohol consumption in pregnancy. It looks at the issues of legislation, policy and procedure. It examines the practice of multi-disciplinary interprofessional work in this emerging area of social care practice. The study was undertaken by adopting qualitative techniques of semistructured interviews with the professionals concerned.

The analysis of data was structured around five key themes which are reviewed and analyzed within this study. The research findings and discussion help to shed light on this contested area of practice.


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